Chinese Philosophy

Edited by JeeLoo Liu (California State University, Fullerton)
About this topic
Summary Chinese philosophy is built on the metaphysical assumption that qi (traditionally translated as “material force” or “vital energy”) pervades the Universe and all things are composed of qi. This ontology leads to a conception of the world as an organic whole, in which everything is interconnected – from nature to the human world, from inorganic objects to sensible things. Chinese philosophers had a purely this-worldly concern; their goal was to improve on the world given. Originated in the primitive form of nature worship, ancient Chinese developed a sense of admiration and affection towards the natural world around them. This religious spirit prompted a philosophical pursuit of the order of the universe and the ontological foundation for all existence. Ancient Chinese thinkers had an intense desire to find the best way to make the right political decisions, to alleviate social problems, and to properly conduct themselves. Sociopolitical philosophy and ethics are thus the two core areas in Chinese philosophy. At the same time, since social structure, political polity and human conduct should all cohere with the cosmic order, Chinese philosophy is fundamentally rooted in its cosmology. This cosmology is manifested mostly in the philosophy of the Yijing. Chinese cosmology is built on the belief that there is a cosmic order or cosmic pattern, which serves not only as the source for all existence, but also as the governing rule for all cosmic developments. This pattern was commonly referred to as ‘Dao’ by ancient philosophers. The pursuit ofDao would become an ultimate goal shared by all Chinese philosophers. Under the holistic cosmic picture, the cosmic order also governs human affairs. Consequently, Dao takes on a normative connotation: it signifies the right way for human affairs and the normative principle for human conduct. In this sense, Daostands for the highest moral precept for human beings. There are three main branches in Chinese philosophy – Confucianism, Daoism and Buddhism. Each school has its distinct answer to the quest of ultimate reality and the roles humans should play in this world. To educate others what constitutes virtue and to inspire others to act in accordance with Dao, was thus the self-assigned mission for most Chinese philosophers.
Key works The first systematic introduction to Chinese philosophy is the two-volume set Fung Yu-lan 1997, first published in the 1930s. This book is arguably the most influential introduction to the history of Chinese philosophy, even though some of Fung’s analyses are often contested by contemporary Chinese scholars. The two-volume set has been translated into English by Derk Bodde (Feng & Bodde 1937). A condensed and more accessible version of Fung’s History is also translated by Derk Bodde (Feng 1948). Among Chinese scholars, Lao 2005’s thee-volume (in four books) set is widely respected and frequently consulted. A more recent and analytic introduction to Chinese philosophy is Liu 2006. This book does not cover the history of Chinese philosophy beyond Chinese Buddhism, however. Mou 2008 has a more comprehensive coverage of all eras in the history of Chinese philosophy, but at the cost of sacrificing philosophical details. For readers who cannot read primary Chinese texts, Chan 1963 is a good source of representative selections of Chinese philosophical works.
Introductions

Chan 1963 provides a comprehensive coverage and fairly representative selections of all major philosophers or philosophical schools in Chinese history. The editor provides succinct introductions for each selection. It is a must-have sourcebook for scholars who can read only English, even though the old-fashioned Wade-Giles spelling of Chinese names in this book could create confusion for beginners.  

Feng & Bodde 1937 provides a comprehensive coverage of various schools in the history of Chinese philosophy. At times, the introduction is packed with quotes, with little analysis. It is nonetheless an authoritative introduction to this date.

Feng 1948 is not just an abridgment of Feng & Bodde 1937. Fung wrote this short history with the aim to give a complete picture of Chinese philosophical history in a nutshell. This book is far more accessible and interesting than Feng & Bodde 1937. Originally published in New York: Macmillan, 1948.

Lao Ssu-Kwang勞思光, Xinbian Zhongguo Zhexue Shi新編中國哲學史. 3 volumes. Guangxi, China: Guanxi shifandaxue chubanshe, 2005.

There is no English translation of this three-volume set. This is a revised version of Lao’s famed History of Chinese Philosophy (Zhongguo zhexue shi 中國哲學史), originally published in Hong Kong: Youlian chubanshe, 1968. Lao’s History provides detailed logical analysis of the philosophical problems and theories of all the schools covered in this book. It is widely referred to by Chinese scholars.

Liu 2006 provides an up-to-date introduction to Chinese philosophy in the analytic style. In its analysis of primary texts, it also reflects topics and discourses on Chinese philosophy in contemporary scholarship in English. The scope of this book covers classical philosophical schools and four major schools in Chinese Buddhism.

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  1. Henri Arvon, Marxist Esthetics, Transl. By Helen Lane, Int. Fredric Jameson, Cornell, Ithaca and London, 1973, Xxiv + 125 Pp., $3.45, Paper. Translation of L’Esthétique Marxiste, Presses Universitaires de France, Paris, 1970. [REVIEW]Karsten Harries - 1975 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 2 (2):203-215.
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  2. William A. Christian, Oppositions of Religious Doctrines: A Study in the Logic of Dialogue Among Religions, Philosophy of Religion Series, Herder and Herder, New York, 1972, Ix+ 129 Pp., $6.95, L.C. No. 76-173830. [REVIEW]Wayne Proudfoot - 1975 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 2 (2):197-202.
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  3. Contributors to Volume 4.Kirill O. Thompson - 1978 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 5 (4):413-416.
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  4. Robert C. Neville, The Cosmology of Freedom, Yale University Press, 1974, Pp. Xi + 385, $17.50.Robert S. Brumbaugh - 1978 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 5 (4):402.
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  5. Kemeth K. S. Ch’En, The Chinese Transformation of Buddhism; Princeton University Press, Princeton, N. J., 1973; 345 + Ix Pages; $15.00. [REVIEW]Mark Siderits - 1979 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 6 (1):111-113.
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  6. Gellért Béky, Die Welt des Tao (The World of Tuo), Verlag Karl Alber, Freiburg/München, 1972, 253 Pp. Price Not Given. Paper. [REVIEW]Kwang-Woong Shim - 1974 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 1 (2):241-246.
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  7. Paul Demiéville, Entretiens de Lin-Tsi, Traduits du Chinois Avec Commentes, Fayard, Paris, 1972. 254 Pp., 45F. [REVIEW]Robert B. Zeuschner - 1974 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 1 (2):229-239.
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  8. Liu, James J. Y., Chinese Theories of Literature, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London, 1975, X +197 Pp., $15.00. ISBN: 0-22648692-3. [REVIEW]Irving Lo - 1980 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 7 (4):389-393.
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  9. Herbert Read, Anarchy and Order: Essays in Politics, Beacon Press, Boston, N.D., Pp. 229, $7.50.David W. Chappell - 1980 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 7 (4):357-362.
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  10. A Buddhist Critique to the Classical Chinese Tradition.Jan Yun-Hua - 1980 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 7 (4):301-318.
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  11. Huan T’an, Hsin-Lun (New Treatise) and Other Writings by Huan T’an (43 B. C.-28 A. D.) ;An Annotated Translation with Index by Timoteus Pokora, Center for Chinese Studies, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1975; XLVIII + 414 Pp.; $5.00. [REVIEW]Wing-Tsit Chan - 1980 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 7 (3):267-269.
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  12. David Kalupahana, Buddhist Philosophy, A Historical Analysis, An East-West Center Book, the University Press of Hawaii, Honolulu, 1976, 152 Pp., Plus Appendices and Index, Paper $3.95. [REVIEW]Paul Wienpahl - 1980 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 7 (3):271-274.
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  13. Reply to Professor Hansen.Herbert Fingarette - 1980 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 7 (3):259-266.
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  14. Chögyam Trungpa, Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, The Clear Light Series, Berkeley, Shambhala, 1973, $ 3.95.Robert B. Zeuschner - 1974 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 2 (1):99-101.
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  15. Trevor Ling, The Buddha: Buddhist Civilization in India and Ceylon, Charles Scribner Sons, New York, 1973.287 Pp. U.S. $10, –. [REVIEW]Edward Conze - 1974 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 2 (1):87-94.
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  16. Michael Pye, Comparative Religion: An Introduction Through Source Materials, Harper and Row, New York, 1972; 248 Pp. Incl. Bibliography and Index. [REVIEW]Roderick Hindery - 1974 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 2 (1):95-97.
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  17. Buddhism: A Modern Perspective. Edited by Charles S. Prebish, The Pennsylvania State University Press, University Park, Pennsylvania, 1975; Xv, 330 Pp; Appendix, Glossary, Bibliography, Index; $14.50 (Cloth); $7.95 (Paper). [REVIEW]Stanley Weinstein - 1980 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 7 (1):67-71.
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  18. Call For Papers.Yün-Hua Jan - 1979 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 6 (3):337.
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  19. “The Space of Communicativity”: Lévinas and Architecture.Dorian Wiszniewski - 2008 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 35 (5):183-194.
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  20. Extraterritoriality: Outside the Subject, Outside the State.Robert Bernasconi - 2008 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 35 (5):167-181.
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  21. The Concepts of Death in Heidegger and Lévinas.Wang Tangjia - 2008 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 35 (5):143-154.
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  22. Emmanuel Lévinas and the Critique of Modern Political Philosophy.Sun Xiangchen - 2008 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 35 (5):155-165.
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  23. The Phenomenology of Death.Shang Jie - 2008 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 35 (5):133-141.
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  24. Virtues of Junzi.Antonio S. Cua - 2007 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 34 (5):125-142.
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  25. Understanding Change: The Interdependent Self in its Environment.Karyn L. Lai - 2007 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 34 (5):81-99.
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  26. Environmental Ethics and Some Probing Questions for Traditional Chinese Philosophy.Lauren F. Pfister - 2007 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 34 (5):101-123.
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  27. Chinese Medicine and the Dynamic Conceptions of Health and Disease.William Herfel, Dianah Rodrigues & Yin Gao - 2007 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 34 (5):57-79.
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  28. Drawing Insights From Chinese Medicine.Nathan Sivin - 2007 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 34 (5):43-55.
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  29. On Human Consciousness in Classical Chinese Philosophy: Developing Onto-Hermeneutics of the Human Person.Chung-Ying Cheng - 2007 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 34 (5):9-32.
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  30. Constructing “Chinese Philosophy” in Sino-European Cultural Exchange.Tang Yijie - 2007 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 34 (5):33-42.
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  31. New Interdisciplinary Perspectives in Chinese Philosophy.Karyn L. Lai - 2007 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 34 (5):3-8.
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  32. The Analects on Death.Donald Blakeley - 2010 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 37 (3):379-416.
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  33. Desire by Lévinas.Marie-Anne Lescourret - 2008 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 35 (5):123-132.
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  34. Lévinas’s Phenomenology of Sensibility and Time in His Early Period.Wang Heng - 2008 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 35 (5):105-121.
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  35. Transcendence or Immanence? Lévinas, Bergson, and Chinese Thought.Wang Liping - 2008 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 35 (5):89-104.
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  36. The Split Subject.Simon Critchley - 2008 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 35 (5):79-87.
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  37. Phenomenology or Anti-Phenomenology? — The Ethical Subject in Lévinas.Mo Weimin - 2008 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 35 (5):61-78.
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  38. The Philosophy of Saintliness: Some Notes on the Thought of Lévinas.Du Xiaozhen - 2008 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 35 (5):47-59.
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  39. Introduction.Nicholas Bunnin - 2008 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 35 (5):5-10.
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  40. Lévinas and Heidegger: A Post-Heideggerian Approach to Phenomenological Issues.Jacques Taminiaux - 2008 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 35 (5):31-46.
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  41. Lévinas and the Three Dimensions of Surpassing Phenomenology.Dachun Yang - 2008 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 35 (5):11-29.
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  42. Preface.Chung-Ying Cheng - 2008 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 35 (5):1-3.
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  43. Select Bibliography of Works on the Yijing Since 1985.Richard J. Smith - 2009 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 36 (5):152-163.
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  44. Time as Emotion Versus Time as Moralization: Whitehead and the Yijing.Linyu Gu - 2009 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 36 (5):129-151.
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  45. Flowers and Steps in the Boolean Lattice of Hexagrams.Andreas Schöter - 2009 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 36 (5):113-128.
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  46. The Structure of Change in the Yijing.Peter D. Hershock - 2009 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 36 (5):48-72.
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  47. The Yijing and the Formation of the Huayan Philosophy: An Analysis of a Key Aspect of Chinese Buddhism.Whalen Lai - 2009 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 36 (5):101-112.
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  48. On Harmony as Transformation: Paradigms From the Yijing.Chung-Ying Cheng - 2009 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 36 (5):11-36.
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  49. A Set Theory Analysis of the Logic of the Yijing.Jesse Fleming - 2009 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 36 (5):37-47.
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  50. Preface.Chung-Ying Cheng - 2009 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 36 (5):1-2.
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